In A Difficult Animal, Lisa Lutwyche tells the story of a difficult life journey. Her deeply felt poems of longing, loss, pain and anger, tenderness and love lead us from her childhood as the daughter of a famous cellist to a terrifying abusive marriage to a successful battle against cancer and finally to the haven of a loving marriage.
"Lisa Lutwyche invokes the body of the mother and the body of the father, to compose a book in which order and rupture press upon the local event of form. What is most striking to me about A Difficult Animal is the moment when the speaker herself starts to loosen off, to orient to her own monstrous capacity for love, including and not very different from (to) the radical relationship to loss. Sappho’s 'sweetbitter unmanageable creature who steals in' makes an appearance for example. 'No,' writes the poet, 'It is not a word. It is my whole body.' Then what is the body? And what is a life? And what, as Larkin asked, is it 'for'? Lutwyche carries us deeply into these questions with delicate bits of grace, feeling, anger and desire. 'And I will,' she tells us, 'I will do this again.'"
-- Bhanu Kapil, Naropa University and Goddard College
$16 (Kindle $4.99)